Eyes on the Street: Dodging Drivers on the Sidewalk

Video still: Rob Underwood
Video still: Rob Underwood

Heads up, New Yorkers. You never know when your neighborhood sidewalk will turn into a construction detour for motorists.

A National Grid construction crew blocked Prospect Place between Flatbush Avenue and Sixth Avenue this morning. Since the crew failed to cork the street at the top of the block by Flatbush, drivers were expected to just figure it out once they had already turned down Prospect. Of course, some drivers took the most direct route possible: Jumping the curb and driving on the sidewalk with pedestrians.

Rob Underwood was walking home after taking his kids to P.S. 282 when he came across the scene. “It looked like one of the drivers had gotten out of his car to yell at the construction workers and then got back in his car to drive around on the sidewalk,” he said. Other drivers followed. One SUV driver almost got stuck, with the vehicle fenced in on the sidewalk by an old fire call box. At another point, a livery car driver idled on a curb ramp as a woman walking with a stroller and child tried to get by.

“After probably six cars tried to go through, cars tried to go out in reverse back to Flatbush, which is probably dangerous, but less dangerous than driving on the sidewalk,” Underwood said.

In September, DOT issued a street construction permit to a National Grid subsidiary for gas work on this block of Prospect Place. The permit expires on Sunday.

Update 12:45 p.m.: “As part of our ongoing gas main replacement program, National Grid is upgrading and installing about 200 feet of gas main and new service lines to homes for our customers on Prospect Place. We have appropriate permits from DOT allowing temporary traffic control devices to close the street periodically,” National Grid spokesperson Karen Young said in an e-mail. “Safety is our number one priority; we have a flagger onsite and proper barricades to close off the street as needed to complete work and protect the public and our workers. The barricade was breached this morning and we took immediate action to secure the area to ensure the safety of the community and our crews.”

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Brooklyn Beep Eric Adams Funds Eight Concrete Curb Extensions

|
Eight new concrete curb extensions are coming to five Brooklyn intersections after a $1 million pledge from Borough President Eric Adams. Curb extensions, also known as neckdowns or bulb-outs, extend the sidewalk at intersections to shorten crossing distances for pedestrians and slow drivers as they turn around a corner. “Our youngest and oldest Brooklynites are at particular risk […]

The Weekly Carnage

|
The Weekly Carnage is a Friday round-up of motor vehicle violence across the five boroughs. For more on the origins and purpose of this column, please read About the Weekly Carnage. Fatal Crashes (4 Killed This Week; 164 This Year*) Glendale: Martin Srodin, 46, Killed by Semi Truck Driver in Crosswalk; No Charges (Streetsblog) Prospect Heights: Winnifred Matthias, […]

DOT Makes Room for Pedestrians on Flatbush Avenue

|
Ahead of a 2014 capital project that will shorten crossing distances for pedestrians on the stretch of Flatbush Avenue between Grand Army Plaza and Atlantic Avenue, DOT this week is installing temporary sidewalk extensions on side streets at five intersections. Crews will be painting extensions on Bergen Street, St. Marks Avenue, Prospect Place, Sterling Place and […]

Eyes on the Street: Sidewalks for Pedestrians at the 78th Precinct

|
Props to the 78th Precinct and commanding officer Michael Ameri for this one. Reader Wayne Bailey sends photos showing that the 78th is starting to get the sidewalk parking situation under control near the precinct house. Previously this block of Sixth Avenue was occupied by officers’ personal vehicles: It might seem like a small thing, […]

Eyes on the Street: Pedestrian Haven on Hanson

|
Courtesy of Brownstoner, here’s a recent shot of sidewalk construction between Flatbush Avenue and Hanson Place, near the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The short passage — or slip ramp, as DOT calls it — allowing cars to turn onto Hanson from Flatbush and Fourth Avenue is now closed to car traffic. This is especially good […]

“Officials Deny” That Flatbush and Glenwood is Dangerous

|
The green circle with the red dot in the middle marks the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Glenwood Road where, between 1995 and 2001 there were 23 pedestrian injuries and one fatality. More recent data shows the intersection to be one of the most dangerous in New York City. Source: Crashstat.org Yesterday morning, the driver of an SUV […]